Cruise News Update: April 22, 2023

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In case you missed any of the big cruise news stories this week, Cruise Hive has you covered with the top news from MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line.

Cruise News Update

In this week’s cruise news round-up we’ve got coverage on the MSC Meraviglia arriving in New York, a pair of Carnival Cruise Line guests who were banned from the line after fishing off their balcony, Celebrity Cruises canceling bookings on an oversold sailing aboard Celebrity Millennium, the U.S. debut of Princess Cruises’ new highly anticipated Sun Princess, and Holland America Line’s historic 150th-anniversary celebrations at the Port of Rotterdam.

MSC Meraviglia Arrives in the Big Apple

MSC Cruises’ MSC Mervaglia arrived in New York City at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal early on April 20, 2023, completing her 11-night repositioning sailing from Port Canaveral and ready to begin sailings from the Empire State. With this momentous arrival, New York City joins Miami and Port Canaveral as the North American homeports for the rapidly growing cruise line.

The 171,598-gross-ton ship will offer year-round sailings from New York through at least September 2024, with a variety of itineraries that will vary seasonally.

MSC Meraviglia Arrives in New York
MSC Meraviglia Arrives in New York (Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises)

Most of her cruises will be tropical sailings to Bermuda, The Bahamas, or popular Caribbean destinations such as Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico. Most cruises will also stop at MSC Cruises’ private island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, in The Bahamas.

During the autumn months, the ship will operate Canada and New England sailings, always popular for the spectacular fall foliage at that time of year.

Onboard, guests will find a shop-lined promenade with an impressive LED sky screen, 20 bars and 12 restaurants to cater to all tastes, a ropes course, water park, the MSC Aurea Spa, a 6,000-square-foot gym, a full-sized two-lane bowling alley, the Sportsplex with basketball, pickle ball, and miniature gulf, and so much more. Seven different shows are also presented onboard, as well as live music and other entertainment.

Not only will cruise guests be eager to experience MSC Meraviglia from New York, but the ship, with a capacity for 5,642 guests, will also bring a welcome economic impact to the area with more than 200,000 domestic and international visitors expected to set sail each year.

Carnival Bans Guests Who Fished Off Balcony

A pair of Carnival Cruise Line guests have learned the hard way that it is not acceptable to fish off one’s stateroom balcony. Two guests who were seen fishing from their balcony in a video posted to TikTok have been banned for life from sailing with the line in the future.

While the cruise ship and sailing date were not identified, one of the guests was clearly wearing a Carnival Sail-and-Sign card, with the blue card indicating it was the guest’s first sailing with the cruise line.

The guests’ behavior was in violation of the several of the cruise line’s policies, as well as local laws in The Bahamas, where the incident took place.

Background details in the video identify the port as Nassau, as the new dock structures nearing completion can clearly be seen, which does indicate the video was filmed relatively recently. The names of the guests were not released, and the video has been removed from TikTok.

Cruise Ship Passenger Fishing off Balcony

While there is no specific policy in Carnival Cruise Line’s ticket contract that prohibits fishing from a balcony stateroom, the action does violate a number of other policies that are outlined. For example, in section 9(a), every guest “agrees to abide by all shipboard rules and policies” and any violation “may cause Guest to be prohibited from sailing with Carnival in the future.”

Also, Section 4(e) explicitly states: “No Guest is permitted to bring on board the Vessel live animals” other than qualified service dogs with appropriate advance notice.

The fish that was caught is seen alive in the video, and most definitely brought aboard the ship to the guests’ balcony. “Fish of any kind” are also explicitly listed on Carnival’s prohibited items list, with the note that any fish caught during an excursion must be shipped home rather than brought onboard the ship.

Carnival Cruise Line’s brand ambassador, John Heald, also noted the prohibition on his popular Facebook page. “Fishing from our balconies or from anywhere else on board is not permitted,” he said.

Carnival guests can book fishing excursions, which are occasionally offered in The Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, St. Lucia, Bermuda, Bonaire, Belize, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and even Fiji.

On these authorized tours, the tour operators arrange for all proper permits and ensure safe fishing conditions. Some tours even include “eat what you catch” or “cook your catch” opportunities.

Celebrity Cruises Cancels Bookings on Oversold Ship

Citing a rare and unexpected inventory error, Celebrity Cruises has canceled a number of guest bookings for an overbooked sailing of the 2,138-guest Celebrity Millennium.

The impacted cruise is a 12-night roundtrip “Best of Southern Japan” sailing, departing from Tokyo on October 24, 2023 and calling at seven ports in such destinations as Shimizu, Kyoto, Okinawa, and Korea.

Celebrity Cruises has not released details about why some guests were cancelled and others were not, though such decisions can be based on a variety of factors such as cabin type, when the initial reservation was made, whether the booking is already paid in full, the loyalty status of the booked guests, and other considerations.

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship
Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Macklin Holloway / Shutterstock)

For guests whose reservations are now cancelled, Celebrity Cruises is offering two options. Guests may choose to “lift and shift” their reservation to select alternative Asia voyages, with the cruise fare honored for like stateroom categories.

Guests may choose from three alternative 12-night sailings aboard Celebrity Millennium in 2024: the September 24, October 6, or October 18 departures.

This option also includes a refund of other costs, such as non-refundable flights or other travel arrangements associated with the cruise, up to $500 per guest with appropriate documentation.

The second option is for guests to cancel their cruise altogether, which would result in a full refund of all monies paid, as well as a future cruise credit of $450 for any future cruise booking, on any ship and for any destination. Guests cancelling their cruise will also receive a $500 refund of other documented ancillary costs.

The reasons why a ship becomes overbooked can vary. Technical glitches with booking engines might result in some staterooms accidentally being booked twice, or group bookings might be introduced, leading to oversold situations, among other reasons.

Sun Princess to Make U.S. Debut in October 2024

Princess Cruises announced that its largest ship ever, the Sun Princess, will make her U.S. debut in fall of 2024 and be home-ported at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, starting from October 9, 2024.

The cruise line’s first LNG-powered cruise ship will be sailing a series of 5- and 7-day Caribbean cruises that will visit the Bahamas, and call at ports in the eastern and western Caribbean.

Sphere-Class Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Render Courtesy: Princess Cruises

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the 175,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess, the first in the line’s new Sphere class, will offer an array of exciting new dining, entertainment, and activity offerings, as well as luxurious staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories.

The ship’s maiden season in Europe will begin with the 10-night Inaugural Grand Mediterranean cruise. This cruise will start on February 8, 2024, in Barcelona, Spain. Guests will visit destinations such as Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Messina, Italy; Piraeus, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Naples, Italy; and Civitavecchia, Italy.

Following her inaugural cruise, Sun Princess will continue sailing on 10-night Grand Mediterranean cruises. The ship‘s European cruise season will conclude with a 16-night transatlantic cruise, sailing on September 23, 2024. 

From Southampton, England, the transatlantic itinerary includes a visit to Portland, England, before sailing south to Vigo, Spain. From there, the ship will continue to Madeira, Tenerife, and arrive in Fort Lauderdale on October 9, 2024.

Holland America Line Celebrates 150th Year

Holland America Line marked its 150th anniversary on April 18, 2023 with appropriate ceremony as the line’s flagship, Rotterdam, arrived at the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the location where the line was founded. Rotterdam had departed Fort Lauderdale on April 3, starting the transatlantic crossing to her ancestral home port.

All-day celebrations were held onboard the ship and at special locations on shore. Some of the festivities were held at Hotel New York, home to the cruise line’s original headquarters from 1901-1977, with Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, and descendants of Holland America Line’s original founders all in attendance.

Holland America Cruise Ship
Holland America Cruise Ship

The cruise line unveiled a commemorative 150th Anniversary bell that will be permanently displayed at the hotel. Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet poured champagne over the bell, a Holland America Line tradition usually reserved for launching a new ship.

In addition to the bell ceremony, members of one of Holland America Line’s founding families presented an original company share that will be kept as part of a special collection in the Rotterdam City Archives. Other commemorative events include the issuance of a special 24-karat gold-foil stamp that features Rotterdam I, the cruise line’s first ship, alongside Rotterdam VII, the current flagship.

A gala dinner was held aboard Rotterdam, as was a festive Lido Pool deck party. Anniversary parties were also held aboard the other ships in the Holland America Line fleet, no matter where they are sailing on the very special day.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just some of the cruise news stories from the past week. Cruise Hive has even more cruise coverage you want to know, including Holland America Line unveiling a pole-to-pole grand voyage, Virgin Voyages adding an exclusive poker game venue to one ship, a special small-batch whisky headed to Oceania’s Vista, new cruise ship limits at a popular Alaska port, a new set of 2025-2026 Grand Voyages from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and insider information about how Carnival Cruise Line gratuities are shared among the crew.

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